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The Cycle

News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.

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Chuck Hagel 19, Us 13, Israel 12, Washington 10, Lance 6, Europe 6, Vietnam 5, Pentagon 5, Afghanistan 5, America 4, United States 3, Greg 3, Iraq 3, Jonathan 3, Pete Williams 3, Steve 3, Ocuvite 2, Clinton 2, Massachusetts 2, Lance Armstrong 2,
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  MSNBC    The Cycle    News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports  
   and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.  

    January 7, 2013
    12:00 - 1:00pm PST  

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here. my liberal and conservative friends like him because he's one that speaks truth to power. you may not always agree but the idea is and especially now talking about is going taurd through a very difficult time trying to pick a path to update the department of defense, i think panetta's strategy in december abysmal. not helpful. status quo. frankly, we need someone to come in and make things work. he knows the hill. he's a soldier. he's been in combat and knows the pentagon. he's the right guy to do the job. >> john, tony brought up that he's a soldier. there's an argument of a civilian at the top of defense because perhaps keeps us going to war less easily or often. what do you think about having a soldier who's been there and done that at the top of the defense? >> i this is the best nomination the president's made in both of the taerms. he is controversial and stands for something. you know, chuck hagel's someone
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who i have known since 2007 when we were arguing against a troop increase in iraq and i can tell you on a personal level especially reading his book he cares what happens to the soldier or the marine on the ground embedded in combat and i think in afghanistan with green on blue killings, a question of projection of force and embedded with afghan troops, this is someone to say is this worth the sacrifice and there was a large debate in washington, d.c. prior to the increase of troops in afghanistan and hagel quietly was on the side that was against the president's plan of sending more troops and i think he looks right and this isn't just a shot, you know, lindsey graham calls it in your face sort of announceme announcement. it is in your face to neo-conservatives and dems and republicans because this is a realism argument that people like i believe or control knell schafer and nation building interventionists who think we should fight wars for democracy
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in the far end corners of the world. >> john, hagel served in war and voted to send soldiers to war and history won't look kindly of the yes votes for iraq war in 2002 and i think what's so interesting about him is he grappled with that as the years went on and as he came to sort of reassess that vote and i think changed sort of his foreign policy philosophy and intervention and war. i wonder when you look at his evolution over a decade an you look at this -- the issue of iran and loom large over four years, how do you think his evolution will affect how he approaches iran? >> i think it's going to -- >> go ahead. >> i think it's pragmatic by the fact that, look, military commanders will tell you there's no good military options of iran so you have to come to a solution which will exhaust every option before war. i think chuck hagel will look at that. sorry. didn't mean to step on you. >> what do you think, john?
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>> i think you know the most important thing to him, the most defining moment is service in vietnam and his brother's service. he was wounded twice. once with shrapnel in the chest. if you go back to the senate testimony or on the senate foreign relations committee and debating the surge, he said if you can't take the heat, sell shoes. people ask me all the time as a jewish american that served two tours in iraq and kosovo, deployed three times, are you on this side or that side and i also answer the same thing, i'm on the side for peace. i've been in war. my brother. it goes on and on and on and defines your life and you can't extract it. chuck hagel's never been able to extract the vietnam experience and not just about war in the future and saying we'll talk to people before we fight them. it's what he did for the troops and then came home. he led the fight and a reason we call it a hagel or the
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webb-hagel gi bill. our kids come home and go to school for free at state schools. >> tony, dianne feinstein, democratic senator, just came out in support of chuck hagel. >> right. >> but there are a bunch of democratic pro-israel leaders like chuck schumer, bob casey, frank lautenberg, carl levin who have yet to weigh in and might have some concerns and bob menendez, the proor the anti-iran hawk. talk about their concerns right now. >> i have looked hard at the statements on the internet and the blogs and what he's said. chuck hagel said my first obligation is to the united states. i took an oath of office to defend the united states constitution. that doesn't mean he's anti-israeli. i have israeli friends, i support the israeli nation and
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defending themselves. however, break dot-dot, you know, you have to look at what's best for this nation first and how that's anti-semitic i don't know and that's the issue as far as i can tell regarding the rhetoric of hagel. >> john, another issue of particular of those like me on the left is hagel's comments that he made back in 1998 opposing president clinton's ambassador or nominee to be ambassador calling him openly aggressively gay and recently apologized for the comments and you were really instrumental in getting don't ask don't tell repelled so how do people with an equality for lgbt community and square those comments with supporting hagel's nomination? >> well, we obviously were involved in supporting, you know, a lot of lgbt community, the argument is if you served in iraq and afghanistan and three times why are you kicked out when we're redeployed?
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i think senator hagel will support the president's policy with lgbt equality and i think that senator hagel did a great job to apologize for it. it wasn't an appropriate statement and something i agree with. when it comes down to the issues of the pentagon that's important like nuclear waste and discretionary spending in the budget and cutting somewhere and we have troops embedded in combat in afghanistan and the president's -- let's be honest. the president's policy in afghanistan has not worked. chuck hagel can fix that. i think that's most important. the lgbt issues, i get it. i can only ask the community as someone as a huge ally to give him a chance. in regards to israel issues, he's the secretary of defense and a lot of stuff is smoke and fire to create some type of political show that doesn't need to happen when the troops are in combat and need a guy to understand their experience like chuck hagel. >> thank you very much. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. up next, fightings words over the hague el pick. the spin is next. it's monday, january 7th. if there was a pill to help protect your eye health as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health.
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chuck hagel if confirmed would be the most antagonist secretary of defense tard the state of israel in our nation's history. long-severed the twice with the republican party. this is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us supportive of israel. >> if hagel is nominated this is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which i could
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support his confirmation. >> outspoken in foreign policy and defense over the years. the questionn answering if he's the nominee do his views make sense for that particular job? >> hagel is no stranger to the u.s. senate having served two terms there but could that be part of his problem? we should tell our audience that we all believe that chuck hagel will eventually be confirmed. that's not what we're talking about. i want to bring up what you asked john about, krystal, the gay comments. when you read them, as someone that supports gay rights i find them to be vile and then put myself back in the 1998 mind-set and what the military culture was like them. don't ask don't tell came out of the clinton administration because there was sort of an appetite for that. so he's apologized and i can
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forgive those comments. i just think it's really interesting that, you know, groups like the human rights council and other gay advocacy groups, people like barney frank coming around to chuck hagel and finding themselves to be very sort of accepting of his apology and i don't think that would have been the case had he been the appointee of a republican president or in a republican administration. i think obama gives him a lot of cover on this issue. i think democrats would call him a pariah if it's happening at a different time. but on the other stuff, israel thing, the views on israel, the views on hamas and previous statements i find to be fairly unpalatable but i think republicans feel the same way about obama's, you know, policies so there's no real surprise there and that's why i just don't think as valid as the inquiries are and the confirmation process is
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rigorous, i just don't think he's going to not be confirmed here. >> right. >> we'll ask the questions and move on. >> right. well to your point of sort of politics of how it went down and barney frank is a great case in point. >> yes. >> when hagel was floated as maybe the nominee, they said they're not comfortable with him and now that he is the nominee, barney frank said, actually, i do support him. >> of course. >> i think it's worth pointing out that the president by having this leak and letting him twist in the wind for a while, the left would have closed ranks and come behind him much more quickly announced as the nominee to start with. >> i think you're right. >> but what's a criticism i'm sympathetic to and voiced myself is a seeming impulse of democratic presidents to want to choose republicans as secretary of defense. you know, this feeling that democrats aren't tough enough or they're not viewed as tough enough to handle the pentagon.
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and steve clemens on "rachel d maddow" made a point that swayed me. >> the democrats that came in many of them that came in with president obama and also part of the concern that americans don't trust democrats to deploy power to be forceful in the world have adopted in many of the institutions they have built in four to five to six years a pentagon hugging strategy of not wanting to reform or cut because of the fear that they will be considered vietnam democrats, anti-military democrats. >> and i think there's some truth to that and i do think in this time where we are going to be looking at cutting the pentagon's budget and scaling back our military to a certain extent, i do think maybe republican would be better positioned to do that and wouldn't be, especially one who's served in the vietnam war wouldn't be subject to the criticisms in the same way a
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democrat could be. >> part of obama's calculus. >> i will say i would like to see some women picked for some positions. maybe obama needs to borrow some of the romney's binders full of women. >> he has own. >> why did barney frank do aboutface? he's campaigning to be the appointed senator of massachusetts and duval patrick as governor of the massachusetts will not send someone to washington to vote against the white house in the major vote. i also -- i wouldn't, s.e. your comment there struck me as if the left is decided to roll over for chuck hagel specifically on the gay rights issue. tammy baldwin said she'll ask tough questions and assurances from him that his attitudes really changed and in a way to
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reflect -- >> it's an outlier and good to see. >> you're saying some special break is made here. this is the nominee of the administration that ended don't ask don't tell. >> yeah. >> there's built-in trust there on the left and among gay and lesbian supporters because there's an assumption -- >> no doubt. >> there's an assumption to put somebody in place to end that. if mitt romney was elected, did we ever accomplish what he wanted to do as a candidate? reimplement don't ask don't tell? he never really addressed that. >> right. >> if a republican president were nominating somebody with a history of chuck hagel, there's more cause for alarm but they have such a good record of gay rights. >> i understand that but democrats i think and certainly groups like hrc would be far less inclined to roll over and come around had this been a republican appointee. >> that's because -- >> that's part of it.
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>> but why should they trust a republican president and trust a republican nominee saying that comment 15 years ago is not reflected in the policies when the republican party has not done anything favorable to them on a policy ground? >> the gay rights question will not be the big issue in the confirmation hearings. it will be about israel and this attempt by the right to tar him as anti-really and perhaps anti-semitic. the guy voted to fund israel, voted to sanction iran and target hamas. and yet still people talk about hagel has the anti-israeli pro-appeasement of iran and not an option. you know what? i would totally agree that a strike against iran is not helpful for israel because where are they going to retort when they need to respond to that attack? lo
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look, there's many ways to help israel. say, hey, maybe more settlements is not helpful to israel. and talking to hamas is helpful. we have a dogmatic vision of one way to help israel and not there then you're anti-semitic and that's not right at all. but then, to what you were saying, the president's habit now of floating these nominees and letting them sit out there for a couple of weeks aenl letting the right have their say at them because when you're just floated you can't defend yourself. you can't appear to be campaigning for a cabinet slot. that's horrible business. the president cannot continue to do that. but that's part of what sunk susan rice and making the hague el issue much more complicated. we have to just put a name out and rather than floating them for weeks. >> gives democrats a chance to get in there. doubly hurtful. i hope that chuck hagel is asked why he refused to designate
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hezbollah as a terrorist organization. while we're on the topic of the president's cabinet, secretary of state hillary clinton back at work today. she was out for almost a month with a stomach bug and then fell and got a concussion and doctors discovered a blood clot in her head. there's pics of the first day back. they even gave her a football helmet with the state department logo. because, of course, washington a contact sport. we threw our picks on our facebook page and they're generating great responses. the facebook friend raz lemons says, welcome back, madame president. is your screen name raz lemons? >> toure, actually. >> let us know what you're thinking. dysfunctional politics. last-minute short-term finishes. is washington turning in to brussels on the potomac?
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excellent. >> bonjour. or whatever. i can't -- i have no -- our next guest says while american politicians have lamented and even derided european politic n politicians unable to get on the same page, leaving everything to the last moment and banging out a late-night deal that are short-term patches without addressing the structural weaknesses of the system, sounds a bit familiar. >> oh! >> wait. >> tres familiar. >> think this is from the script? this is off the top of my head. in "the economist" can kicking
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is a transatlantic sport. here to tell us about the government's stylings and strategies is greg ipp. thank you for putting up with that somewhat ridiculous intro. but your premise here is basically the dysfunction that sort of defined europe. manifesting itself in the united states. can you take us through what you're trying to argue there? >> sure. i mean anybody following the economic debate here in washington for a couple of years hearing the fed chairman or the treasury secretary and sometimes the president complain everything would be fine if those guys in europe didn't keep screwing up their own crisis and patching over everything in the middle of the night and getting us the can kicking deals and i have to say that the europeans can throw that right back at us. i mean, like this is a forth time with the last fiscal cliff deal up to the deadline and basically patched the way over
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and without fixing the fundamental problems and honestly i think you think about the united states now and wonder if the united states is becoming the big risk to the economy. only two months to hit yet another fiscal cliff deadline. who knows what happens after that? >> i agree that the brinkmanship we're seeing and flirting with the debt ceiling could have a cataclysmic affect and wonder if the comparisons overstate the crisis here. there's a report that basically said you have a 1.2 trillion -- if you do a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction plan will cover you for 10 years so that your debt to gdp ratio is stabilize. much lower rate than anything in europe. are we overstating that comparison a bit? >> i don't think so. but i think the accurate way to look at it is slightly different situations. europe taken as a whole has a
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debt somewhat lower than america's. the share of gdp. it's a distribution of the debt that's a problem. you have the counties in the south and northern countries that don't want to pick up the tab for it and the nexus of the problem, a dispute of how to get paid for. you know, if you think about it, that's a little bit of what we have going on here. neither democrats or republicans disagree there's a debt problem and nobody really disagrees that the problem is fixable as the numbers you quoted tell us. the big fight is over how to deal with it. neither side seems to want to accept any of the other side's recipe for getting this done and that's why we have dysfunction. >> well, greg, to your point you write in this "economist" piece this week mr. obama boasted he had fulfilled the mandate by raising taxes on the rich. in fact, he and republican leaders are building a brussels on the potomac. i think you're right and tea
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party conservatives had been sounding that alarm for years and then, you know, sort of fiscal conservatives like me had been warning up until the very last moments of the fiscal cliff debate it wasn't going to solve any of the big problems that we still have looming on the horiz horizon. why have the warnings gone ignored for so long? >> i think one of the reasons is there's a very important difference between us and europe which is that we are not only the brink of a financial crisis and about to be shut out of the world's financial markets. we have the world's reserve currency. we have a central bank. the greeks don't have that. the italians don't have that. we versely, i think that's more rope to hang ourselves with because the markets seem complacent about our ability to always pull a rabbit out of a hat at the last minute and takes away the pressure on the politicians to act. one of the silver linings if you could say that about the crisis in europe is forcing the greeks,
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italians, spaniards for necessary reforms for thely boar market. we don't have that pressure here. >> i agree with the frustration about your sentiment that we can't seem to work together. we're managing the government just floating from crisis to crisis. i certainly share in that frustration but you write about both sides being driven by their party's extremists and i think that if we're going to solve the problem of the dysfunctional government, we have to be honest about the political calculus going on and republicans have this whole organization, this whole group of organization that is have sprung up to challenge republicans who are not far enough to the right in primaries, you have the tea party, the club for growth and other organizations and you don't have a comparable thing on the left so the political calculus is a bit different and i think the fiscal cliff deal illustrates that calculus of 85 republicans that voted for the deal, they were either from more
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centrist districts where the president won or lost but not by that much or they're retiring so they're not worried about election, not worried about challenges from their right flanks so it seems like it's not so much that both sides are to blame but republicans much more concerned with playing to their base and also if you look at polling from the last debt ceiling crisis that we unfortunately lived through in 2011, when you ask people whether they favored compromise to avoid default or people to stick to their principles no matter what, democrats 81% wants compromise, independents 69%, republicans 53% so just in general, democrats are more amenable and interested in compromise. >> i think that you're absolutely right that if you had to pick the party that was more intransigent and inflexible it would be the republicans at least for a few years but go back -- >> democrats. i think you mean the democrats, right? >> no, he doesn't. >> no.
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correct me if i'm wrong. >> i'll get to the democrats. don't worry. the point is about the 85 republicans who the minority of the caucus that voted for the tax deal but i mean, ask yourself why is it that it was such a hard sell. if you're a republican, you got nothing in return other than making the tax cuts permanent. there are a lot of republicans saying that they would vote for a deal to make significant progress and got, you know, a big bagel hole. nothing. and so they're doubly upset. now, you can make a point, though, that the president needs to lead in terms of offering what they're willing to put on the table. and as hard as a tax piece has been for the republicans, i think the entitlement lift will be just as difficult for democrats. and by the way, i would add that on entitlements, it's a bipartisan weak spot in the sense that republicans are no more enthusiast than democrats
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of the next election telling the elderly that their sacred programs are cut back so i think the next piece is harder than the last one that was about taxes. >> greg, i wasn't trying to make a point there. i thought you said republicans and meant democrats. i wasn't trying to sort of be a, you know, pushy there. i was trying to get it right. >> that's all right. >> okay. >> all right. we have cleared that up. greg, sorry to leave you hanging there. thank you. america's biggest problems are hurdling at us at lightning speed. up next, jonathan whihite puts on asteroid alert. i have low testosterone. there, i said it.
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sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled program but i have breaking news. a giant asteroid is heading
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right for us. if we don't do anything, the result is catastrophic. actually, a slew zooming toward us and act or doom is certain. maybe like orwell "war of the worlds." there are none asteroids or none i know of. >> you're scaring steve. >> he's not listening. there's balls of ka ma'amty. >> excellent! >> rising temperatures. rising entitlements. rising equality. rising births to unmarried women. could cause a lasting impact on our world but as the next guest says, hyper partisanship is blinding us to obvious problems and solutions. >> we are doomed unless we start acting now. what's wrong with you people on the other side and the other party? can't you see reality? if you won't help, get the hell out of the way. we can deflect both of these ost roi
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asteroids. it's technically solvable. the problem and tragedy is the mere fact that one side says, look, there's an asteroid means that the other side, no, huh? what? i won't look up. >> joining now is jonathan hate at new york university stern school of business and author of "the righteous mind." but i think he's calling the next book balls of calamity. >> must, has to. >> good subtitle. >> you say we're just typically unified by massive threats of outsiders. so why is it that these threats basically from outside of society even though they're figtive are not unifying us the way that the outsider threats typically do in human history? >> right. i'm interested in tribalism and the way we're good at coming together. the enemy of my enemy and my cousin and me against the
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stranger. we are good at that but the country is so polarized when we face dangers and as soon as one side is more concerned about as if global warming, the other side deanies it exists. i read a lot of stuff on both sides and say they're both right. there's problems, the threats and i'm trying to find a way to get people to sort of say, yeah, i'll stop objecting to your asteroid if you stop objecting to mine and then work together a bit. >> yeah. i understand the basic point there, jonathan, but it seems like the refusal to come together and the eagerness of i'll accept the both sides framing for a minute but the eagerness of both sides to demonize the other, there's a rational basis for doing this. most recent election results showed it. there's two different americas here and not growing the same way. one will elect a democratic president and democrats to statewide office and control of the senate and the other one locked in a conservative republican controlled hou eled
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a decade and it's a benefit of a republican to oppose everything of the democrats because they just worry about a republican primary challenge and seems like no incentive for common ground. >> okay. well, you have to look at any complicated 178 as playing out of multiple levels of conflict and within the party you have people competing in congress and then the competition of two parties and then other competitions like america versus iran and china and partisanship is okay but hyper partisanship means all the people representing us to figure out the solutions they're totally locked at one level and a healthy system is to switch up and put partisanship aside and we have a problem and fix it. the president asked to appoint somebody to a government post. let's vote on it. let's not just try to shut everything down. so, i'm looking for ways that we can get people to break out of this one level of competition and even briefly say, you know
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what? there's threats pacing the country. some of which we could share about in common. >> professor, i agree and i like your asteroids. i like that you have some from the left and the right and the right needs to recognize and the left needs to recognize. but what do we do about the fact that there are so many folks in the media and folks who would rather talk about who's more to blame than talking about how to solve some of these problems? how do we get over the hump and stop talking about who's more to blame and actually talk about the issues? >> that's right. well, most of the problem is in congress and ultimately congress has to fix itself but most of us are so frustrated year after year things go on and don't fix themselves. things get worse. we need to take matters in to our own hands and small groups of people can come together. i started asteroidsclub.org and find instructions of a dinner party and as long as you know any person on the other side --
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>> i know three. >> i know steve. >> i have one. >> we'll have a dinner party. >> if you bring people together, you have them debate or find common ground it descends in to a fight but saying the purpose of the evening to try to convince you. i'm going to try to convince we spend beyond our means and same time you try to convince me that global warming is real and by the power of reciprocity if i budge you, i'm more willing to budge the other way and that's the hope to build on human relationships among citizens, the power of acknowledgment to break people out of the stalemate and reverse the slide that we're all on. >> and jonathan, i share some of steve's skepticism about changing the dynamic of our government without changing the sort of political calculus that they're responding to but i wanted to get you to weigh in. you had specific ideas in the
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talk of changing the culture of washington, having open primaries. another idea that someone smarter than me had proposed we look like we're headed for years of guided government and maybe we should just have a winner take all system where if democrats win, they have a chance to implement the policies, see if they work, if they don't, voters kick them out and try the republican ideas but this notion that our two-party system is just not working an at this point and if a party gets elected, if they're the ones that people put in power, they ought to be able to fully trot out the ideas. >> what if we redo the system entirely and amend the constitution and responsible party government, that might be that better. but it takes five or ten or 30 years to get there. what i'm particularly excited and i mentioned it in the talk is that there's a group of
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nolabels.org which is washington insiders proposing steps to be done next week. you know, it's things like changing the nature of the fill bust sore that the minority can't obstruct so much. changing the calendar so that the congressmen move to washington and focused on doing things this month. >> professor, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. up next, the supreme court is back in action today and they have a lot of big issues on the docket. what to expect from pete williams next. what can we do with a brand new year, and a room that needs refreshing? we can work with a new collection of carpet that proves durable can be softer than ever. we can get for less and spread that softness even further. turns out, we can do even more than we thought we could. because this is the year of doing. more saving. more doing.
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well it's good... good for me. what do you think? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. developing news of washington this afternoon. aside from the president's nomination of chuck hagel, over at the supreme court, the justices returned to the bempbl for the second half of a term that promises action on hot buttonishes including gay marriage, affirmative action and voting rights. let's bring in justice correspondent pete williams. pete, out of the gate this morning, the court opted not to take up cases of guns in church, medicare and campaign finance. >> those are all issues the court declined to take up and upheld a georgia law banning the carrying of a gun in to a church. it refused to take up a challenge of dick armey to opt out of medicare and turned down
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a lawsuit of an anti-abortion group claiming that the federal government is wrongly ruling to abide by campaign disclosure and refused to take up a fight over the federal financing of stem cell research. now, this was a lawsuit that one point did stop federal research funding but the work continued and the battle seems to be over. >> that's the glass half empty stuff. let's talk about what they will do and a very important court. talk about the big questions that will be answered in this term and let's focus in your answer on what anthony kennedy will do as the decider. >> not cases, but certainly affirmative action, that's already been argued. that's in school admissions. we're waiting to get the decision on that. we'll get decisions tomorrow and wednesday. seems a little early for that case but it could come anytime now. on same-sex marriage, it's two
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cases, and we know now when they'll be argued. the court announced that today. they'll be argued the last two argument days in march. on march 26th the court will hear the challenge to california's proposition 8, that's the voter approve ed initiative that put a stop to same-sex marriage. and then the next day on the 27th, it will hear the legal arguments in a challenge to the fird defen federal defense of marriage act, the federal law that prevents the government from recognizes same-sex marriages in the states where they're already legal. you had up there the voting rights act. this is the question of whether it's out of date, the requirement for preclearance in states that have a history of racial discrimination. they have to get permission from the federal government before they can make any changes at all in how they conduct elections. the states there argue that the law is behind the times, that they actually do a better job now than some northern states do and it's just not fair to hold them to this standard.
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so three or four big issues. this is clearly going to be the civil rights case -- civil rights issue term, more so than in many past decades. >> pete, you mentioned the voting rights act there. specifically this deals with section 5, the preclearance provision. >> right. >> i have picking up from supporters of preclearance, i'm picking up on an awful lot of sort of negativity in terms of how they think this is disappearing to go. i guess roberts a couple years ago basically made a comment that things have changed in the south. >> exactly. >> we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but if the court does toss section 5, what would be the larger impact on the entire voting rights act if that were to happen? >> the civil rights advocates would tell you section 5 is the real teeth. this is the thing that requires states to justify their changes in advance. the other part of the law would remain intact. that's the part of the law that allows anybody to sue a state if
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they believe it engages in racial discrimination at the polls. but civil rights advocates would say this just invites a game of whack a mole. that every time something pops up, they have to run around the country filing these various challenges. the other side, the satates say they're guilty until proven innocent in this situation. as you note, the supreme court said a couple years ago things have changed in the south. now, the court -- i think the reason for the pessimism is the court came very close a couple years ago to striking down section five, sort of looked over the cliff, if you will, and backed away from doing it, but it was a message to congress to say, look, if you want us to uphold this law again, change the law, change the map of what states have to do this. congress hasn't done anything and that's the reason for the pessimism. >> all right. nbc's pete williams. thanks so much for that. >> my pleasure. >> and up next, we cycle on with a possible lance confession. are his sins forgivable? guess what toure says? the boys use capital one venture miles
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i have sinned against you, my lord. >> in 19 88 jimmy lee swag art begged for forgiveness after being caught with prostitutes. lately i've been thinking about those old sinning televangelists like jim baker and ted haag effort and all the heads of cults built on lies because lance armstrong is pretty much one of them, an athletic televangelist if you will or maybe even a sort of latter day
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jesus figure, although in this iteration jesus turns out to be a fraud. lance's story was for a while christ-like. lance rose miraculously from the edge of the grave to sit on the throne of cycling and american sport and inspire and heal millions. there was a cult of lance in this country, those yellow wrist bands were ubiquitous for years soum bollic of humanity's battle against cancer. christ has a cross and lance had a wristband marking him as a sports god who had beaten the big "c" which made him a living god to many people with cancer and their families. but he was inspiring people based on stolen power. he was wearing a crown of lies. now word conveniently leak that is he may be considering admitting that he did take drugs. this could allow him to negotiate a reduced punishment from anti-doping agencies and allow him to get back to
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triathlon. there's a slew of perjury lawsuits that could make it all too complicated, but this leak that he's considering an admission is in the court of public opinion a gilley plea, and it ends all reasonable doubt about his guilt. i still hear people say, well, they never caught him. well, that sounds silly now. some say everyone in cycling did it, but it's still cheating and really was lance like everyone? no, he was a hero. but the reason why he was a hero was because of lies and deception. without drugs, without cheating, he probably doesn't become a legend able to raise half a billion and inspire cancer sufferers. does it matter that he did something good with his stolen influence, that there are kids with cancer who got a visit from him or just knew he was out there and were given hope? okay, sure. but imagine the moment those kids who had suffered so much found out that their cycling savior was a liar and a cheat. imagine how hurt and crest fallen those kids would be then. lance should come clean and admit what he did just as jimmy
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swaggart did, but i don't expect he will and i certainly don't expect tears because all of that would be out of character. okay. let's go to somebody who always does the right thing, martin bashir. >> actually, toure, i can't ever see lance armstrong admitting publicly to his cheating but let's hope he does. thank you. and good afternoon. it's monday, january the 7th, and the best defense is a good offense. >> to the help meet the challenges of our time, i'm proud to announce my choice for two key members, chuck hagel for secretary of defense and john brennan for director of the central intelligence agency. >> republicans are spoiling for a fight, so they just want to pick a fight. >> quite frankly, chuck hague sel out of the mainstream thinking on most issues regarding foreign policy. >> chuck hagel is the leader that our troops deserve. he is an american patriot. >> they just want to pick a
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fight. >> if hagel is nominated, it's very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which i can support his confirmation. >> i think it would be a lot of tough questions. >> one of the few secretaries who had been wounded in a war, and the first vietnam veteran to lead the department. >> this is an in your face nomination by the president. >> with chuck our troops will always know, just like sergeant hagel was there for his own brother, secretary hagel will be there for you. ♪ >> referee: we begin on a busy monday afternoon in washington, and the president has dared republicans to make good on their threats to oppose his nomination for defense secretary. chuck hagel is the leader our troops deserve said the president. just a short time ago at the white house, the president officially announced his long awaited picks for the two top security posts, counterterrorism
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adviser john brennan to lead the cia and most controversially, former republican senator chuck hagel to defense. >> to this day chuck bears the scars and the shrapnel from battles he fought in our name. >> hagel's biggest detractors come from within his own republican party. members of which were on air with criticism of the former senator within seconds of the news conference ending. >> he's profoundly wrong on a number of the most important national security issue that is face our country today, like denying iran nuclear weapons, like direct face-to-face negotiations with state department designated terrorist organizations like hamas, and calling in to question our commitment to our principal ally in the middle east, israel. >> for the latest, we go to nbc's luke russert live for us on capitol hill. luke, we've heard the cacophony of attacks on chuck hagel from